Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine) Movie Review
Co-writer-director Laura Bispuri’s drama, ‘Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine),’ played at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival.
Photo courtesy of Vivo film / Colorado Film

Title: Figlia Mia (Daughter of Mine)

Director: Laura Bispuri

Cast: Valeria Golino, Alba Rohrwacher, Sara Casu, Michele Carboni, Uno Kier.

‘Daughter of Mine’ (Figlia Mia) is the second feature film by Laura Bispuri, presented at the 68th Berlin Film Festival. A story of maternity, set in Sardina’s scrubland, explores the intricacy of human relationships, but somehow does not manage to spark a powerful emotional response.

This is the story of a love triangle, but the point of contention is not conquering the heart of a partner, but that of a daughter. Ten-year-old Vittoria (Sara Casu) is growing up in a village of Sardinia, that is untouched by tourism. One day she meets Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher), who lives like a stray dog and is completely different from her own caring mother, Tina (Valeria Golino). This will be the beginning of the youngster’s path to discover her origins.

As in her directing debut, ‘Vergine giurata’ (Sworn Virgin), the Italian director follows her protagonist and her quest to find where she comes from. A female trio leads ‘Figlia Mia,’ presenting three different perspectives that clash and intertwine. Vittoria is confronted with two opposing mother figures: the biological one, who is free spirited and self-destructive, and the adoptive one, who is empathetic and maternal.

Valeria Golino and Alba Rohrwacher try to act with an accent typical from the Italian island, and fortunately do not overdo it. Nevertheless, Golino’s Roman and Rohrwacher’s Florentine inflections mingle with the Sardinian accent, which warps the authenticity of their characters.

‘Figlia Mia’ explores with great delicacy the issue of what makes a parent worthy to be considered as such. However, the banal juxtaposition of the saintly mother — Tina is a regular churchgoer, besides being a caring mother for Vittoria — and the temptress-sinner — Angelica gives herself to men merely to get a free drink in dodgy bars — is monotonous.

The legerdemain cinematography by Vladan Radovic creates a mystical atmosphere. Also the music by composer Nando Di Cosmo assists the entrancement of viewers in this wretched setting. Nevertheless, clichés and melodrama tend to take over the narration excessively.

Technical: B-

Acting: C

Story: C+

Overall: C+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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